I’ve written this article to help you quickly compare and evaluate the best Gantt chart software on the market for 2021.
As a project manager, there’s a good chance that you’ve come across a Gantt chart or two in your time. Popularized by Henry Gantt in the early 1900’s, the Gantt chart has long been a favorite tool for project planning activities, building project timelines, and charting the critical path of your project.
Microsoft Project (MS Project) is probably the most well-known Gantt chart software (see my full guide on MS Project), but there are dozens of Gantt chart software options online. Some are stand-alone Gantt chart software while others are part of a more comprehensive project management software.
Here, I summarize the best ones so you can quickly find the right fit to plan your next project.
Gantt Chart Software Comparison Criteria
What do I look for when I select the best gantt chart software? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): How well-designed is it? Does it offer clear, interactive displays and intuitive, user-friendly navigation?
- Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Is it easy to schedule tasks, track progress, set due dates and baselines, and understand your project schedule at a glance? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training?
- Integrations: Is it easy to connect with time tracking tools, collaboration tools, agile tools, and other tools that are part of a project management solution? Any pre-built integrations?
- Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible?
Gantt Chart Software Key Features
- Collaboration & Sharing: Ability to set roles, assign tasks to team members (real-time collaboration to simultaneously work together with colleagues on Gantt charts is a plus). Comment on tasks and attach files, photos, videos, notes, or documents. Share & export it to popular formats like PDF, PNG, XLSX, CSV, and XML.
- Drag & Drop: Easily arrange, extend, and shorten tasks and subtasks by simply clicking and dragging. Likewise, the software should make it easy to quickly click and add tasks, dependencies, attributes, indents, outdents, and priorities.
- Notifications & Alerts: Receive notifications about project progress, mentions, changes, upcoming tasks, and at-risk items so you can effectively reprioritize tasks and share the right updates with stakeholders.
- Project Scheduling & Auto Scheduling: Ability to schedule projects and set timelines. Auto scheduling, also called dependency tracking, refers to the software’s ability to automatically adjust downstream tasks according to task dependencies, and recalculate cascading task start dates and end dates when a previous task undergoes changes.
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Overviews Of The 10 Best Gantt Chart Software
Here’s a brief description of each of the Gantt chart software on my list showing what it does best, plus screenshots to showcase some of the features.
Wrike is an easy-to-use project management software that is suitable for teams of 5 or more individuals. Users can create Gantt charts in one click, as well as customize workflows, dashboards, reports, and request forms.
Wrike enables users to switch between Kanban boards, one-click Gantt charts (that can be adjusted with drag-and-drop), and traditional workload views, allowing teams to choose how to work. Wrike also features task lists, subtasks, task dependencies, shared workflows, file sharing, and real-time collaboration.
Wrike has an easy-to-use, intuitive interface and navigation with distinct spaces, folders, and tasks. Toggle between the home screen and timesheets, dashboards, calendars, reports, and a notification and activity stream.
Wrike’s features can be configured for each individual team’s needs, as well as for specific teams such as marketing teams and professional service teams. Users can also try a variety of templates for common organizational processes with several of these templates featuring Gantt charts.
Wrike offers 400+ pre-built native integrations, including integrations with the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software from Salesforce and Marketo.
Wrike starts at $9.80 per user per month. There are four different price points, including a free version and plans which offer the ability to invite free external collaborators to a paid account.
Smartsheet is used by big names like HP, Netflix, Cisco, and Hilton. Smartsheet helps you organize projects, grids, calendars, dashboards, portals, forms, and more all from a unified control center. They have pre-built Gantt chart templates that allow users to customize fonts and colors, “% Complete” and “Assigned To” columns, and more.
While their alert and notification systems meet our general evaluation criteria, there have been some reports that automation sometimes goes down, causing regular notifications not to send, unbeknownst to the user. While this has never happened to me, it is something to be wary of.
Smartsheet integrates with G-Suite, Microsoft Office 365, Box, DocuSign, Slack, Workplace Chat, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts Chat, Skype for Business, Gmail, Outlook, and many other apps. Some integrations require Business or Enterprise plans.
Smartsheet costs from $18/month for individuals and offers a 30-day free trial.
Used by Amazon and Netflix, TeamGantt is a Gantt chart maker with a freemium version for smaller groups and teams who don’t yet need an upgrade to a paid plan. TeamGantt specializes in task planning tools and charts but they also track workloads and team availability, offer collaboration features like chat and tagging, and allow for customizable alerts.
TeamGantt scores well in the Usability segment of the evaluation criteria, as it is incredibly flexible to use. The tool can accommodate different structures and constraints for setting up and tracking projects, no matter their structure or constraints. Additionally, providing an easy “read-only” URL makes it great for sharing with outside parties for input.
TeamGantt costs from $24.95/month and has a freemium version for up to 3 users.
Paymo is a work management tool designed to help creative and marketing teams own their entire project cycle. As well as Gantt Charts, they also offer task management, time tracking, resource scheduling, and invoicing modules that are well integrated with each other.
Within Gantt charts, users can click and drag on the timeline to estimate a task duration, then pinch its ends to extend or shorten it. Apart from the standard dependencies, you can set lead and lag time to account for overlaps or delays, and even auto-schedule tasks based on those dependencies and constraints.
When finished, click the Export button to save the project timeline and send it over to a client or team member. There’s also a Portfolio Gantt Chart available, which acts as a pipeline with all project timelines united on a single screen.
The tool could benefit from having a baseline feature to compare against future changes of the task and overall project duration. Milestones could also be more customizable, as they currently show up only under their corresponding task lists.
Paymo integrates natively with popular apps such as Slack, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Drive, QuickBooks Online, Xero, JotForm, and Shift, to name a few. Other integrations are available through Zapier or by syncing with their fully-documented API.
Paymo’s free plan includes a 10 user limit and unlimited projects and clients, as well as limits on a few other features. They also offer paid plans starting at $9.95 per user per month.
Backlog is a cloud-based project management tool perfect for developers and the teams they collaborate with. Backlog provides a range of useful team collaboration features including task management (including subtasks, checklists, and custom fields), milestones, burndown charts, file management, wikis, and most importantly, a Gantt chart maker. But Backlog is more than a collaboration and Gantt chart tool. It’s also a bug tracker and version control system in one.
For collaborating on code, Backlog provides SVN and Git repositories, a differences viewer and inline comments, plus pull requests, merge requests, and branches. Visually, the app provides burndown charts, Git graphs, and Gantt charts, so project managers and users alike can quickly assess projects at a glance.
Backlog allows you to assign, track, and release work, right in one app while ensuring transparency and accountability across teams. If you’re looking for a tool to help manage development projects or working closely with a team of developers, this is the app for you.
Backlog provides a mobile app on both iOS and Android for collaborating on-the-go. It integrates with Nulab’s other apps and provides both Redmine and Jira importers.
Backlog is free for up to 10 users with some feature limitations, or $35/month for up to 30 users. For $100/month, your team gets unlimited users, i.e. their Standard Plan.
Airfocus is different from most Gantt chart makers on the market. While the tool has an efficient Gantt Chart functionality, it doesn’t stop there. Airfocus helps you go beyond just adding your tasks, projects, and initiatives to also help you prioritize which tasks should be added and which ones to cut out. The tool comes with multiple templates that are fully adjustable.
Airfocus enables you to take your planning to the next level using algorithms that calculate your priorities and visually map them out on a chart so you can make informed and more objective decisions. The user interface is highly intuitive with information and features being easy to access and use. You can toggle between the Item, Chart, Board, and Timeline views in order to assign a value to each project, visualize your initiatives better, and make strategic decisions.
Airfocus also offers collaboration features, allowing users to comment, assign items to co-workers, use dependencies, and add attachments. Your team, stakeholders, and users can get access to your roadmap using a shared link, while allowing you to remain in full control of the information that is displayed.
Priority Poker is a feature of Airfocus that allows you to invite others to a rating game that can even be used on a smartphone. After flipping the results for an item, you will see how each person rated and more importantly where ratings differ.
Airfocus integrates with most of the tools you are likely already using, such as Jira, Asana, Trello, and others.
At $19/month per user, you get access to all the product’s features and functionalities. Airfocus also has a 14-day free trial so you can start your planning and prioritization process right away, free of cost.
Microsoft Project Online uses a familiar software UI to give you an intuitive way to visualize various project angles. MS Project Online is a great example of Gantt chart template software, offering loads of built-in templates and familiar scheduling tools that make it easy to launch and navigate each assignment. The Gantt chart builder lets you select items for phase indicators, start and end dates, and RAG risk status.
Unlike some of the other software on this list, MS Projects doesn’t have the same number of features and functions despite the higher licensing cost for the full suite of tools. Therefore, they fall short in our value for money spend evaluation criteria, meaning they aren’t the best for small business or startups.
Microsoft Projects Online integrates with the MS Office suite, OneDrive, Outlook, Skype, and OneNote. However, it doesn’t seem to expand into non-MS programs and services, which is a con.
Collaboration is limited by the fact that a project file cannot be opened by multiple team members at the same time. Changing schedule dates is not as seamless as it should be and often ends up causing chaos across the timeline. MS Projects is definitely geared towards large-scale projects and might not work for smaller workflows.
Microsoft Project Online costs from $7/user/month and offers a free trial.
MindView is a powerful Gantt chart maker that boasts mind mapping features for planning projects. With MindView, users have the ability to create a work breakdown structure and project timelines/road maps. This can all be done without having to re-create data.
Gantt charts can be made in 4 simple steps. Users can brainstorm project plans in the mind map view, add schedule information, and then switch to the built-in Gantt view to refine the plan. Users can then fine-tune their Gantt chart by building schedules, allocating resources, and managing scope changes.
MindView enables users to export Gantt charts to Microsoft Project for further development. Finally, MindView allows users to communicate the Gantt chart as a timeline, simplifying the project plan for people unfamiliar with Gantt charts.
MindView also has simple features like constraints, dependencies, and baselines as well as more advanced resource management features like effort drive tasks, project calendars, and rates/resources. MindView has robust project reports and can be collaborative for portfolio management.
MindView adopts the latest Microsoft Office interface and has built-in tutorial videos to guide you. The use of the ribbon system makes the software familiar and intuitive to use and learn. Users can also use the latest MS Office keyboard shortcuts.
MindView imports and exports to the entire MS Office suite (Excel, PP, Word, Outlook) including MS Project. MindView also exports to .pdf, HTML, project reports, XML, RTF, and images.
MindView starts at $15 per month. They also offer a fully functional free trial and free webinars to get you set up.
Instagantt gives you access to scheduling tools, task management, and timeline visualization alongside the usual Gantt chart building tools that you would expect. Instagantt is marketed as an add-on app for Asana (an alternative to Asana’s built-in Timeline for paying users), though it can be used independently, as well.
Instagantt speaks in particular to our evaluation criteria for features and functionality, ticking off all the major boxes such as: letting you drag and drop items, interlink dependencies so changes in the timelines reflect across the graph automatically, view the number of tasks per assigned employee, create subtasks and milestones, customize color schemes, and much more.
This software integrates most notably with Asana. Instagantt also lets users export their charts into Excel, PDF, and image formats, but doesn’t offer integration with other popular workflow apps.
Instagantt costs from $5/user/month and offers a freemium version for up to 3 projects.
Canva does more than just Gantt charts: You’ll find templates for slideshows, presentations, infographics, graphs, emails, and more. They have a simple drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy for non-designers to create aesthetically pleasing designs with minimal effort.
They offer quite a bit for their price, per our evaluation criteria, but free users won’t have access to everything. While Canva is free to tinker with, it will cost you to use certain designs, shapes, patterns, and templates. It will also cost you to download your work in any functionable format (besides a mere screenshot). Still, the price is ideal for smaller businesses that are looking for Gantt charts along with other marketing graphics but don’t have a budget for an in-house designer.
Canva integrates with WordPress, eClincher, Rippling, Sendible, Post Planner, and Viraltag. As you can probably tell, their focus with integration is on social media and/or content creation – if you need to access PM or workflow apps, you’re out of luck.
Furthermore, if the only thing you need is Gantt charts then Canva doesn’t offer the range of robust data detailing that other programs do. Rather, it’s strength comes from the clean simplicity of its designs. If your project requires an in-depth, multifaceted timetable, Canva probably won’t be for you.
Canva Pro costs from $12.49/month and offers a free 30-day trial.
The Best Gantt Chart Software Comparison Chart
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the baffling array of gantt chart software out there. Below, we’ve put together a reader-friendly table neatly summarizing basic info about the tools described in this article.
What Should A Gantt Chart Include?
The best Gantt chart software will include the ability to create horizontal bar charts that depict the timeline of a project’s schedule, the overlay of interdependent tasks (i.e. Task B cannot start until Task A is finished), time estimates, a schedule progress status, and team assignments. Most modern Gantt chart programs also have task management and collaboration features as well.
What Are The Advantages Of A Gantt Chart?
The major advantages of a Gantt chart include seeing a birds-eye-view of any project, being able to quickly assess a timeline of tasks, and the ability to adjust the chart and see the new end results.
Does Trello Have Gantt Charts?
Power-Ups, like TeamGantt, can be integrated with Trello to provide Gantt chart features to existing Trello customers. The core Trello app uses boards, lists, and cards, and promotes a Kanban style of organization.
Does Asana Have Gantt Charts?
Yes, Asana has Gantt chart builders included with all of their paid plans. You can also use free apps that integrate with Asana, like Instagantt.
What Is The Best Free Gantt Chart Software?
The most common free Gantt chart software is probably Excel or Google Sheets. You’ll find templates for creating Gantt charts in those programs if you do a search online, although the templates might cost a few bucks. It works in a pinch, but it’s not great.
There are many other free and open source Gantt chart software options available online, including RedBooth, GanttProject, Bitrix24, Agantty, Teamweek, and Instagantt for Asana, as well as free versions of paid tools such as Wrike, Paymo, and others.
I’d recommend any of those free online Gantt chart software options because they deliver more functionality than a simple spreadsheet, even when you’re using the freemium version.
Read our full list of free Gantt chart software here.
What Do You Think About These Gantt Chart Software?
Gantt charts are just one way that you can track how you spend your time, set priorities, plan ahead, stay organized, schedule time, and delegate—all key features of a master of time management. What Gantt chart software is your ultimate go-to? Did we miss anything that you think should have been added to the list? Let us know in the comments below.
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